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The Hidden Links Between Depression And Heart Disease

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By: Dustin Cannon

While there are tales of people dying of a broken heart, such sayings have long been relegated to the fantasy bin. However, recent research has shown that there are true connections between depression and heart disease.

Depression was once considered to be only a psychological disorder with no physiological underpinnings. However, it is now known that depression often has biochemical origins and can therefore be treated with medication like other types of diseases.

However, the biological origin of some forms of depression means that there could be a fundamental link between the two disorders on a physical level. However, it is also possible that depression may make sufferers less likely to take care of themselves properly which can increase the occurrence of heart disease. Likewise, the discovery that one has heart disease can trigger depression in some who may have had a latent susceptibility to the disorder.

Scientific studies have linked the occurred of coronary heart disease and ischaemic heart diseases, both of which are related to poor blood flow to certain sections of the heart and are one of the biggest killers in the world, have been statistically linked with depressive disorders. It has long been known that there is a stress and heart disease connection and, in this case, it is easy to understand.

Stress releases a number of chemicals, including adrenaline, which cause the body to go into "fight or flight" mode. These chemicals do a number of things, including increasing blood flow to the muscles, increasing the rate of respiration, and increasing heart rate, all of which can possibly damage heart muscle tissue. However, the link with clinical depression is somewhat more vague. It is possible that there is a chemical link between the two diseases; however, many scientists suspect that the relationship is not physical in nature but rather a natural couplet since the prospect of facing heart disease may make some people depressed and some people with depression may not be able to care for themselves as adequately as those who do not suffer from the disease which makes it more likely that they will suffer heart disease from simple neglect. People who suffer from depression are also more likely to abuse tobacco and alcohol and frequently do not exercise regularly.

Those who suffer from both heart disease and depression should make sure that their psychiatrist or psychologist is in close contact with their cardiologist. Since the two disorders are related, the treatment should be coordinated to make sure that the treatment of one of the diseases will not negatively impact the other.

Both heart disease and depression are disorders whose prognosis declines with time. Therefore, it is important that both are detected early in order to have the best possible patient outcomes.

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About the Contributor

Dustin Cannon is owner of and writes on a variety of subjects. To learn more about this topic Dustin recommends you visit:

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